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The Inspiring Story of Four Female Ocean Advocates

Dr Claire Petros, Dr Cal Major, Dhafeena Hassan and Shaziya Saeed travelled 100 kilometres by paddle board to raise awareness of ocean health.

March 31, 2019
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Rebecca Murphy

Rebecca Murphy

March 31, 2019

Resort Representation Agency, World Resorts of Distinction (WRD), this morning unveiled the latest heart-warming news from its boutique resort client, Coco Collection in the Maldives, where four women recently completed an unprecedented stand up paddle boarding expedition to raise awareness about ocean health.

Proudly sponsored by Coco Collection, the ‘Stand up For Our Seas’ campaign saw four brave and passionate women travel 100 kilometres through the Baa Atoll between 21 – 28 February, with the intention of educating people about plastic pollution, climate change and marine wildlife in the Maldives.

Dr Cal Major, Dr Claire Petros, Dhafeena “Dhafy” Hassan Ibrahim, and Shaaziya “Saazu” Saeed started their round-trip journey at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, and then over eight days, travelled from island to island across the Baa Atoll.

The team delivered educational talks to locals and tourists at six stops, sharing crucial information about the status of turtles in the Maldives and around the world; better waste management processes for resorts in the area; and ways individuals can reduce the use of harmful plastics in their daily lives.

Throughout their journey the women faced many challenges, including sudden changes of wind and current, which frequently proved stronger than normal for this time of year in the Maldives.

Their physical and mental endurance was tested to the limit, however, they persevered – even clocking a whopping 18 kilometres in one day – to conduct clean-ups, share their knowledge, and spend quality time in their favourite place, the ocean.

WRD Resort Marketing Manager, Narelle Christoffersen-Langton said the trip was endorsed by Maldivian dignitaries including the Minister of Education Dr Aishath Ali, Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed, and Minister of Environment Dr Hussain Rasheed, and was created with dual purpose.

“Not only was the Stand up For Our Seas campaign designed to educate locals about the importance of protecting their surrounding environment, it was also a global call to action, to remind the world that it’s everyone’s responsibility to preserve the ocean,” she said.

“It’s fitting that the expedition’s base was Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, as the resort takes its commitment to preserving its ocean home very seriously, and has a number of initiatives in play that demonstrate this; including a strict no plastic policy, a turtle rehabilitation centre on the island, and an impressive desalination and water processing plant that services the entire resort,” she added.

Coco Collection’s sustainability program, ‘Coco Dreams Green’ is dedicated to reducing the consumption of single-use plastic – with an end goal of zero – at all Coco Collection properties, including their corporate office.

It also includes a monthly island clean-up program to clean the beaches, reefs, and lagoons of non-biodegradable debris; and marine conservation awareness and outreach programs for guests and staff.

In 2015, Coco Collection announced an official partnership with the Olive Ridley Project, a UK charity whose mission is to remove discarded fishing nets (also known as ghost nets) from the ocean, and to rescue and rehabilitate sea turtles injured by these nets.

As part of this partnership, they opened a Marine Turtle Rescue Centre at Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, the only one of its kind in the Maldives. The resort’s resident Marine Biologist also works closely with the Olive Ridley Project to remove ghost nets from surrounding seas, and to conduct an awareness and education program for guests, staff and local schoolchildren.

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